Public Artwork

Word Count
University of South Florida
1. What is Art?
If one had to give a concrete definition of art the definition might read something like this: Art is
an medium used to relay a form of communication; whether it is to record or remember an event,
express spiritual beliefs, give tangible forms to feelings, see the world in a new way or transform
the ordinary. As long as the matter is acknowledged and relays something, it is art. Typically art is
expressed in painting or sculpture, but it can be a piece formed with any material.
Truth be told, art does not conform to a specific definition as it is subjective; it can be infinitely
interpreted based on any individual's perception and also because art is always changing with
culture and the times. Tilted Arc, the controversial piece by Richard Serra, was created, site specific,
as an important work...that transformed the space and advanced the concept of sculpture, whereas
critics focused on its perceived ugliness and saw it as ruining the site. (Wiki1). Serra's sculpture is
art as it does communicate with to the public, regardless of the fact that the communication raised
may be positive or negative.
Although this piece or art does not appeal to my taste, I feel the Tilted Arc should not have been
removed from the plaza. Richard Serra created his piece specifically for this location of the Javitz
Center/Plaza so that pedestrians would have to react with his piece of art. As stated, instead of
focusing on the optical experience of sculpture—looking at it from a distance—Serra wanted
passers-by to experience the sculpture in a physical way. He said that the long, curving metal sheet
would “encompass the people who walk on the plaza in its volume,” altering their experience of the
space as they moved to and from the surrounding government buildings (khan3). For this reason
alone is why I think the sculpture should have been left in the plaza. The piece made passersby
become aware of their surroundings instead of being self-absorbed in their own self, thoughts, and
space. Serra's sculpture forced people to acknowledge it which was his attention and what art
should do in some way. Using a steel material that rusts in time (not patinas, but rusts) suggests
something old, a piece of scrap metal for the junkyard. Possibly if the material used was marble or
a shiny non tarnishing metal, creating a sculpture that was more aesthetical, people would not have